Biochemist Derek Smyth worked at NIMR from 1962 to 1992, and drew attention to the action of the natural painkiller beta-endorphin in the brain.
Smyth had done postdoctoral research at Yale School of Medicine and the Rockefeller University before joining the Division of Biochemistry at NIMR in 1962. His early work at the Institute centred on the hormone oxytocin, and was followed by projects including the synthesis of peptide hormones and characterisation of beta-endorphin. In 1972 he was appointed Head of the Laboratory of Peptide Chemistry. After retirement from NIMR in 1992, Smyth did research at the Institute for Molecular Biology in Salzburg, followed by the Pharmacology Department of the University of Murcia, Spain.